Puppies are so cute.
We get a lot of emails and tons of questions about dogs which (believe it or not) we do try to answer one by one. It takes some time and we never seem to have enough so we have decided to post some content which potential clients can refer to since many questions are ones we get over and over. In this post, we are taking information from Michael’s forthcoming book concerning whether to purchase a puppy or an adult. There’s more to this than just picking a dog. It is really like choosing a new family member. When you dive into owning any living creature, you should never take it lightly. There’s a lot at stake such as the health and welfare of the animal if you don’t like it and maybe your mental sanity as well. As you read any article written by any of our staff members, keep in mind that we are generally speaking about Belgian Malinois dogs since that’s what we sell. However, much of the information can be applied to most breeds of dogs.
What puppies have to offer.
If you sit and play with a litter of our puppies for 5 minutes, you’ll want to take them all home. In five more minutes, you’ll be naming them and thinking of which color collar you’ll get each one. But as we know it can’t work that way. We have sold two puppies on rare occasions to the same person at the same time, but it was because they had a lot of experience with dogs. In general, we will never sell a client two Belgian Malinois puppies at once because it is an injustice to both the dog and person. The care and time needed to properly care for one of these dogs are enough, and two makes it nearly impossible to do it right.
Puppies do have a lot to offer if you want to put in some extra work and the rewards are enormous. They grow up with your family, which means if you have children, you can teach them how to care for an animal. And of course, you will know specifics such as past health issues all training levels and so forth. A puppy can be a beautiful thing, but it can also come with many things that are not certain.
Hidden In Plain Sight.
If you simply want a family pet a puppy can work pretty easily as long as you do some house training and basic obedience with some socialization. With most breeds, that is about all that is a “must-have” in a dog. Each breed of dog can have traits that not all breeds have. For instance, Bloodhounds have a sense of smell that makes all other animals envious. Greyhounds and Whippets run as if they are carried by air. You may choose a breed that comes as a full package built to make you happy. However, breeds such as the Pit-Bull, German Shepherd and Akita are almost always on the AKC’s top ten list of dogs who bite. That doesn’t mean they are bad dogs and I would certainly never discourage anyone from having the dog that makes them happy. You just have to look at the puzzle as a whole, not a piece. Can your living situation house a full-grown German Shepherd, Pit Bull or Belgian Malinois? These are not typically thought of as apartment dogs due to their size and need for exercise. Even within some breeds, there are individuals who are outside the box. Can you find a Belgian Malinois puppy who will grow up to be more settled down and fine with living in an apartment? Sure, you can, but you will not know exactly which one when he is 8 weeks old, playing with you by nibbling on your fingers. The puppy waters are clouded, and you simply must navigate with plenty of thought and research.
The Big Dogs Are Ready!
All things considered, an adult dog is ready to go. Just add food and water but read this first because it isn’t that easy. Many times when people contact us at Wolfsbane K9 they want to know whether an adult or puppy is the best option. Some have done a fair amount of research, while others have done little or are just starting out. Because we deal only in high-end Belgian Malinois dogs almost all know which breed they would like to have. Although we have had some calls for Boxers, Akitas, and Cane Corsos. Oh well, maybe they didn’t notice all of those Malinois photos on the site. While they would like to own a Belgian Malinois many are apprehensive because of the rhetoric they have heard online. We’ll discuss breeds in a later chapter but let’s talk about why an adult dog can be the best option. With regard to price, there is no comparison in most cases. Puppies will be cheaper … a lot cheaper. And while I hate to say it we get many calls and emails from people who really do think they can get a fully trained dog for the price of a puppy.
Some bad things you get with an adult dog could be a lack of training or poor training. A dog could be set in his ways so much that reversing his thinking would be impossible. You can’t always teach an old dog new tricks. Depending on where you buy the dog it could be healthy or severely sick no matter how it looks. A helpful hint is to require the seller to provide a full veterinarian exam report with x-rays of hips and elbows that are older than 10 days. A health guarantee is also a must for any dog but adults perhaps more so than puppies. Another concern with older dogs is their personality. If you have children you will need to know that the dog is kid-safe. What about other animals? Friends and family when visiting? As you can tell there are several factors here that are not an issue with puppies.
Training Cost Money.
There’s no doubt that good dog training can cost some serious bucks. Most people like to train the puppy themselves while others join group training classes at local, professional dog training schools. In most cases, all owners will need some help along the way and once again we speak here about dogs being trained for working or high-level sports. The majority of owners who want us to do training want one or two types. Some want high-level obedience and that means on and off-leash work to perfection. The rest want obedience and protection work for an individual or family. The thing about a Belgian Malinois is they are easy to train compared to many breeds. In good hands, they want to work hard, learn more and do what is asked of them. But, no dog learns by sitting in a kennel. The dogs need to be worked with multiple times each day in order to progress fast and reach their highest potential. Usually, when you think these dogs have hit their high you find that they have set newer highs so the training never stops. When the dog is what we would call a fully trained one we mean his obedience is good on and off-leash, his manners are good in public and at home plus his protection skills are assured. The dog will give his life to protect his family and while that might sound like a grim statement the fact is the dog should feel this way.
To get a fully trained dog who is ready to go or one who needs to go through training the cost should be the same. When we start with a very green puppy and plan to take him all the way through excellent obedience we know that the dog needs six to eight months of solid training. This means we are housing the dog, taking care of the dog, supplying the food and working with him 7 days per week. In the beginning, the dog will get 10 or more 5-minute sessions per day but that increases quickly as he grows and by the time he hits 3 to 4 months he will be doing 30-minute sessions at least 4 times per day. Then we go to full one hour sessions plus the dog will be with us most of the time as we run errands. This continues until we are satisfied with his performance. Now, just think about the work that goes into the dog and you can see why every trainer charges what they do to make a living. We’ll discuss dog trainers in general in a later chapter.
People often think that there is some way to wiggle around the cost of a trained dog if they buy a puppy. This could be the case with some kennels or trainers but not at Wolfsbane K9. To get a quality dog you have to put the time into it and time is money. If you begin with a puppy ours are $2500. If you want that stellar obedience you are looking at 8 months which is $2,000 per month. You can do the math. If a client wants us to start with an 8-week old puppy then go through full protection training we know the road will be long and hard. The dog has to be a standout from the very start. Even at 8 weeks old we must see something that tells us he has a real shot at this. Many dogs wash out of protection training as the pressure gets harder and harder. These are dogs we often sell with obedience training only. Assuming the dog can become a protection dog it will take at least 16 months of training but we usually quote people at 18 to 24 months again at $2000 per month. In most cases buying a trained dog is easier, quicker and gives you the guarantee that the dog will perform as promised. But of course, you need to get that in writing.
An Alternative To Save You Money.
We almost always have some dogs on our website who do good protection work yet are far less in price than some others. So, what’s up with that deal? We have people all over the world who are always on the lookout for the kind of dogs we buy. Many times they will know or meet people who have some dogs for sale and these dogs are exactly what we need. It’s a simple thing really. These excellent trainers need some extra cash and we are always in need of new dogs. The good part is that we can broker a deal with them and buy the dog at a reasonable rate. We can then bring the dog to our kennel, test him, fix any issues we see then sell him at a very attractive price compared to starting with a puppy. It very well could be that this is your best bet if you want more dog for less money. Over the years we have sold many of these dogs and the results have always been good for the buyer and dog.